Two Tactical Wins

Two Tactical Wins

Feb 2, 2010, 5:06 PM |

For the last few games, the chess goddesses have been smiling at me, things are going well and I have excellent chances to promote to the 2nd round of 9th Chess com Tournament (1800-2000). In fact I'm eyeing the 1st place, I doubt that's a realistic goal but I'll try my best, we'll see how things go. 

Here are two games from the 1st round I recently finished. According to my full transparency policy, I'm making all notes I took during the games available (with a few corrections on notation) :

1) A Successfully Carried Out King-side Attack


I think overall this could be one my best games ever for a couple of reasons: I was black, it was the first time I've seen that opening, I didn't make any blunders during the game, my opponent didn't hang any pieces out of the blue and I had to fight for what I got, my analysis and notes during the game weren't as horrible as in my previous games, and in the end, first I made a pawn sacrifice, and when it got rejected, sacrificed a whole piece and went for an all out attack on the king. These types of wins have been extremely rare in my play because of the openings I used to play, and I'm really happy to have one in my pocket.


2) The Winning End of a Swindle (Again)

This one doesn't have any kill-or-die type of king side attack like in the previous game, but I think it was perhaps a more interesting fight because of the changing nature of the game. I should also mention I decided not to use the analysis board in this game, so the analysis in the notes I've shared were all calculation.


Has white just won a pawn? Or has he simply blundered a strategically better position with lousy tactics? Try to find the best response for black here.


I thought I calculated everything out here, and chose the more "flashy" continuation instead, but I missed a very good defensive move by black. Get yourself in black's shoes here. You are under heavy fire, but there is one resource. Black to play. What would you do?


I'm not sure if I should be very pleased with my play here. I think I showed very good positional play during the opening, successfully punishing strategical mistakes of my opponent and not letting go of the initiative, but then, when black played 17...b5, I somehow misjudged everything and thought I had a tactical win, immediately blowing away my positional advantage. The nature of the game changed drastically after that and with a little luck on my side, it turned into a tactical win in the end.

In my notes, I also miscalculated potential kingside attacks (Bxh2, Ng4, Qh5) and the outcome of 21.Nc5. Overall, although I'm pleased with the result, I should've been tactically more accurate.

3) Bonus: Home Preparation!

This game has very little significance chess-wise other than the opening discussion, so I decided to present it as a bonus. My opponent chose a rare line in the grunfeld, grabbed a sacrificed pawn which would probably end up in an unpleasant position for black. The game obviously has little to do with home preparation though, I just like the term Smile.

So this is all. I think the system of taking notes during the game and sharing them on my blog once the games finish is going pretty well, it forces me to have a more disciplined way of recording my thoughts and analysis while playing, plus I suppose it should be interesting for readers to see how accurate, or to put it more accurately, how inaccurate my analysis is Smile, and what I looked at and didn't etc.

I kind of enjoyed not using the analysis board in the 2nd game, it was a much more thrilling experience and probably more effective for OTB practice, but I'm not sure I have the guts to commit to never using it in any games at all yet. Smile

Thanks to all my opponents for the games, and thanks for reading, hope I could make it worthwhile. All analysis here and in my previous blog posts is done with the help of Rybka 3 Human and sometimes Deep Fritz 11.

I appreciate feedback & comments!

As usual, I'm going to leave you with a Kramnik game featuring one of the openings in the games I have analyzed. It's interesting to see Short trying to take Kramnik out of book with that 1...Nc6:


And why am I posting a picture of WGM Jennifer Shahade in my blog? Well, partly because the term "chess goddess" was brought up in my introduction, and mainly, because I can!